DeSantis signs landmark ‘medical freedom’ bill with abortion opt-out for medical professionals

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Effective July 1, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and organizations in the state of Florida will be allowed to opt out of participating in healthcare services that violate their conscience, including abortions.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the landmark legislation into law on Thursday which his office touted as the “strongest legislation in the nation for medical freedom.” HR 1580, dubbed the “Medical Freedom Bill,” prohibits the Department of Health from taking action against medical professionals who decline to perform certain procedures based upon a “conscious-based objection.”

The term is defined in the measure as “a sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical belief.” The bill also protects patients from discrimination based on their race, religion, sex, and national origin.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) legal counsel Stephanie Nichols heralded the bill’s passage as a major step in protecting healthcare providers from being forced to violate their oaths to “do no harm” under threat of retribution.

“Americans shouldn’t be forced to violate their ethical and religious beliefs, and this certainly includes doctors, nurses, and other medical providers,” Nichols said in a statement to LifeNews.

We’re grateful to Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for protecting free speech rights for medical professionals and the right for them to live in accordance with their ethical and religious beliefs as they offer their much-needed services.

She added that retaliatory practices designed to strongarm medical professionals into participating in procedures that go against their faith “will drive many from the workforce and lead to fewer health care options for patients at a time when our nation’s health care system is overstretched and experiencing a dire shortage of providers.”

HR 1580 offers protections to “any healthcare provider or facility licensed under a dozen different statutes, including doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, mental health providers, medical transport services, clinical lab personnel, nursing homes, and more.”

Among the services that can be refused are “medical research, medical procedures, testing, diagnosis, referral, dispensing medications, therapy, recordkeeping, and ‘any other care or service.’”

Healthcare payers are defined as “any employer, as well as any health insurer, health plan, HMO, or any other entity that pays for, or arranges for payment of, any health care service.”


The sweeping legislation also bars “globalized public health institutions” from interfering with Florida’s public health policies, making specific reference to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 pandemic guidance enforced by the Biden administration.

The law further safeguards the licenses and accreditations of healthcare professionals who choose to speak out against “the medical establishment” and further gives doctors and patients the freedom to determine the best course of action in treatment decisions without outside interference.

A memo generated by the governor’s office includes the tagline: “Florida, the medical freedom state.” The bill is the latest in a flurry of pro-life and pro-freedom legislation signed into law by DeSantis ahead of an expected 2024 presidential campaign launch.